Fact based reporting
by Amanda Chen and Rob Roman
The Jodi Arias Murder Trial – The OTHER side of the story.
Normally, we would keep all this confidential, but all of this has already been reported on, and the names, events, and contents of letters, etc. are already readily available on the internet and in social media. Still, most people do not understand what all the chatter and hoopla has been about, unless you are too deep in it all. So, we wanted to try to shed some light on the great amount of infighting among Jodi Arias supporters that has been going on f0r quite some time and has recently intensified.
Jodiland has become a house divided
It’s the sad story of the Jodi supporters fighting against each other and using Jodi as a weapon. Sadly, people are being forced to take sides, people are acting stupidly and not in the best interests of Jodi Arias at all. How did it get this way……. and do we really care? Let’s take a look.
The rise of SJ
Really it all started quite innocently with two people supporting Jodi in their own way but for differing reasons. The first was Simon Johannson or SJ, supposedly a UK citizen living in Switzerland, who was running CaseyAnthonyIsInnocent.com and began a new site called JodiAriasIsInnocent.com months before the trial began. This became the most popular site and the only one of two paid sites during the trial.
The rise of Jason
The other person was a webmaster by the name of Jason Weber, an American and graduate of the Ivy League Cornell University. Jason had a site called OccupyHLN.org, which was dedicated to the due process rights of Americans and how they were being threatened by the emergence of crime/entertainment shows, especially CNN’s Head Line News (HLN), using “victim’s rights” as their justification for exploiting all manner of trials and issues in crime.
The rise of Jodiland
SJ has a number of other unrelated websites. JodiAriasIsInnocent.com (JAII) has no advertising and no one from there has ever tried to pitch anything. A community of Jodi supporters grew there, becoming familiar and friendly with each other. SJ and others began to have some communications with Jodi and some of her advocates in Arizona.
Jodiland spurs HLN, turns to JAII and OccupyHLN
Meanwhie, Jason started covering the Jodi Arias trial as an alternative to HLN, even providing links to live streams of the trial so viewers could avoid HLN’s 3 minutes of trial coverage followed by 6 minutes of advertisements and self-promotion. Jason also started a Facebook Page by the same name. Social media savvy people were finding their way to OccupyHLN as they became more and more disenchanted with the coverage on HLN of the Jodi Arias trial (Unchecked and non-factual random speculation, telling the viewer what to think, an increasingly one-sided view, little or no voice from the defense side, spokespeople such as Nancy Grace declaring Jodi Arias guilty in the first weeks of the trial). The same things were happening at JodiAriasIsInnocent.com. Communities were growing and bonds were being formed. People either for or against Jodi Arias were starting to talk to each other.
Jodiland moves to Facebook
Then in the next process of evolution, people began small Facebook groups in support of the defense/Jodi Arias. Plenty of people were viewing both JAII.com and Occupy, but naturally, people in some groups were mostly from one site or the other. Groups were open at first, then they started going underground, becoming closed and secret groups. People would pretend to be a Jodi supporter, then turn out to be a mole or a troll or a spy, etc.
Jodiland attacked just like the Alamo
Jason allowed people of all views to speak in the interest of stirring debate and growing interests. SJ really did not allow anti-Jodi people a voice reasoning that their voice was being heard everywhere else in social media and the traditional media. Both sites were attacked as people on the other side of the issue began to get organized and respond to pro-Jodi sites. As the trial progressed, the attacks intensified. At one point, Jodi supporters, always very much the minority, were under attack like Custer at Little Bighorn or the Americans at the Alamo.
Paranoia, Attacks, and Propaganda
Eventually paranoia would set in. People stayed in their own group where they knew people and were familiar with each other. People did not want to mix with new, unknown people who could be spies, moles or trolls from pro-Travis/pro-prosecution groups. It was the days of in the trenches warfare. Twitter was like the heavy Artillery section, it was like the Cavalry or the special forces unit, for sporadic bombing offenses or behind the lines operations. Direct hand to hand combat happened often on Twitter. Mass propaganda campaigns were launched on both sides. Lots of little Joseph Goebbels were springing up everywhere with their own special Twitter propaganda.
Jodiland gets organized
Jodi is still alive, her story is dynamic and continues to evolve and change. She continues to react and respond, so this is where the action is. Travis, unfortunately, was taken from us. His story is static and unwavering. So both pro and anti Jodi Arias forces were concentrating on Jodi Arias, not Travis Alexander.Then a few Winston Churchill types rose up on social media and began organizing the small groups into larger groups. One such person was George Barwood from the UK. His Primary interest was anti-death penalty and wrongful convictions. George tried to create Facebook groups where people from many small groups could assemble and communicate. Most of the people going to the Barwood groups were from Jason’s sites originally, and a few were from JAII.com. George Barwood and some other people saw the wisdom of trying to unite the JAII community with the OccupyHLN community.
All is not well in Bikini Bottom
As Jodiland began to unite, certain Sponge-Bob type people from both major Jodi camps were getting more involved with Jodi and some of her defense team. Many supporters were writing to her and Jodi Arias tried her best to write an original and warm letter back to each supporter who wrote to her. Some supporters began to visit her at the Estrella jail and some were phoning her regularly. People, especially SJ and people from JAII.com, were helping Jodi with collecting funds and selling her artwork to help her family pay for trial expenses, etc. Special websites were set up for that purpose. Also, some Jodi supporters were beginning to independently contact members of the defense team and some Arias family members by mail, by Facebook, twitter, e-mail, or by phone.
First saber rattling inside Jodiland
Unite the Clans!
After the first penalty phase mistrial, George Barwood made a major effort to unite the JAII people and the OccupyHLN people. The results were good and people from the two major divisions were talking and socializing. Still, JAII.com, a foreign website was the only dot com site dedicated to Jodi Arias. Not everyone liked SJ’s crude style or his mean-spirited approach, and they started thinking about making another major Website dedicated to the Jodi Arias case. By this time SJ and people in his crew had already helped Jodi Arias and her family set up a website dedicated to her artwork and a website to help people donate to her appeal trust fund.
Battle of the Jodibands
One supporter, we will call Fred, had been visiting and calling Jodi Arias. He began selling plastic bracelets called “Jodibands” to help raise money for Jodi. “Fred” wanted to advertise these Jodibands on JAII.com. SJ, the webmaster, agreed to it but SJ wanted a disclaimer on the advertisement stating that Fred was separate from JAII.com and the site does not necessarily endorse what Fred was doing. This seemed to be a reasonable request. Fred was livid and went on a few private Jodi supporter sites complaining about SJ. Some people sided with Fred and some with SJ. Most were against any divisions among supporters. Then Fred publicly complained about SJ and JAII.com. You could start to see the tiny cracks emerging in Jodiland. This was a small sign of bigger of things to come.
Enter the Jason
Jason Weber got involved with a group of people who wanted a different kind of website for Jodi Arias. He used his experience and knowledge to develop a new website for Jodi Arias called Justice4JodiArias.com. This was very similar in name to SJ’s site for donations to the appeals fund which is called Justice4Jodi.com. So, there seemed to be a growing rivalry. All of this coming from supporter rivalries on two different facebook pages, one called Justice4Jodi, and one called Justice4JodiArias.
Battle of the Art site
SJ did enjoy being the premier site dedicated to
Jodi Arias, but the real kicker was when Jason and possibly George Barwood began looking at alternatives to the art site and the fund raising site. At that point, SJ and his followers were thinking sure, you can make another website about Jodi Arias, but why are you trying to steer people away from the art and donation websites? We worked hard to get these sites up and running to help Jodi. Then the sparks started flying.
Jason and “Lucy” and SJ and “Ben”
A very dedicated Jodi supporter, we will call “Lucy”, joined forces with Jason to help run the web site and companion Facebook site. This website wants to have more input from its members, so they set up a board of directors to make decisions and they created a private members-only section on the website. This is about when the war inside Jodiland began. Another supporter, we will call “Ben”, was an associate of SJ’s who was visiting and helping Jodi. He has a very modest rap sheet (possession of marijuana and an unspecified charge), which George Barwood tried to make a lot of hay out of. He published this rap sheet which doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans.
Jason Weber began attacking the Art site, the donation site, and SJ personally. SJ uploaded photos of Jason’s DUI arrests and featuring them on JAII.com. Of course, Jason freely admits he was arrested for DUI’s and that’s why he got involved in defendant’s rights, due process, and wrongful convictions. Who do you think would be very heavily involved in such subjects, someone with no experience with the justice system? Maybe the same goes for SJ. Rumors abound about SJ being involved in shady websites and pyramid financial schemes, yet there is no evidence that anything SJ or associates of SJ have done regarding Jodi are in any way fraudulent.
Number one rule of reporters: Report the News, don’t become the News.
King Kong stumbled
There is also no reason to believe that Jason Weber is doing anything nefarious by trying to help Jodi. Her case fits into what Jason has been advocating for, he has the web know-how, and he has an interest in this case. He was criticized for bringing the victim’s family into the discussion. It seems that of the 7 Alexander siblings, four have police records and one has serious psychiatric issues. I do think it was in some small part relevant that the past of some of the Alexander sibling’s records are fair game, because the Alexander friends and family, or at least some of them, tried to interfere with defense witnesses, which is a violation of Federal law and it violates our Constitution. It’s something that you just do not do. Jason was also criticized for “buying Facebook likes” for his “OccupyHLN Facebook page which currently has 28,835 likes. Jason has been criticized for running sensationalized stories on his OccupyHLN.org website and for not crediting his sources or providing links to sources.
Godzilla got burned
SJ was criticized for his involvement in such schemes such as “Overnight Cash System”, “Prosperity Automated System”, and “Breakthrough Advertising”. He is connected with scores of websites. Who of a perfectly clean reputation would bother to potentially harm themselves by unselfishly helping a person like Jodi Arias? Answer – Almost no one. So true heroes like SJ and Jason, the only two at first to stand up and try to help the underdog, are not going to be perfect people. We knew this at the start of trial. The stories about Simon Johannson were nothing new. Allegations against Jason Weber were nothing new since halfway through the trial either.
SJ began to fire back and drop a few bombs of his own. Jason Weber and George Barwood began a campaign to totally divest Jodi Arias of all involvement by SJ and his cohorts. They were accusing each other of being frauds and rip-off artists. Now if you are an international business guy, or if you are a web developer, aren’t there much easier/better ways to make money than with Jodi Arias?
The Major Point of all this
Here are some stats for you: Free Jodi Facebook Page 396 members. Help Free Jodi 166 members. Justice4jodi Facebook page 224 likes. Have I made my point? One website about bestiality, say Eskimos and Aardvarks, could make more money than Jodi Arias ever will. This is more of a charity case or volunteer work. One should not look a gift horse in the mouth, should one?
That’s the point of this whole article. There is no scam. There is precious little money for anyone to try to take. No one is trying to take money away from Jodi Arias. So then you have SJ and his cohorts and Jason and his cohorts writing calling and bothering Jodi Arias and her family with all this commotion, when Jodi Arias is trying to prepare for her 2nd penalty phase, Capital murder trial. George Barwood tried his hand pitching Jason’s ideas to Jodi Arias and that explains her letter, which George Barwood posted on his then insecure secret FaceBook site and it quickly leaked. Just like the letter Jodi sent him before that also leaked. None of this has really done much good. In terms of fund raising by way of Jodi’s art purchases or by way of appellate fund raising, a lot of people are becoming much more hesitant to send money. So this is only hurt Jodi Arias.
Anything you can do, I can do better
Simon Johannson cannot stop Jason Weber from creating another .com website dedicated to Jodi Arias. But the bone of contention is the attacks on the Art website JodiArias.com, and the appellate fund donation site Justice4Jodi.com. Jason is saying, that he has a larger audience, he can find more buyers for Jodi’s art, more donors for Jodi’s appellate fund, and he can gain more supporters than JAII.com. SJ is saying that he has set up separate sites for the art and appellate donations, so why can’t Jason refer people to these sites? In order to promote one art and donation site, you are casting aspersions against the other. People are confused, because they want to give to the sites that are sanctioned by Jodi and her family. SJ’s sites are sanctioned. Jason and Lucy thought their site was sanctioned but learned differently.
Prosecution Supporters celebrate
The prosecution supporters are just loving all this because a fight between Jodi supporters further erodes Jodi’s credibility and support, and her ability to raise vital funds for her appeal. So we can assume that some prosecution supporters would love to fan the flames by supporting one side over the other. Jodi supporters are trying to stay out of it, but get pulled into it from time to time, as Jodiland’s Godzilla fights Jodiland’s King Kong. Alas, Tokoyo in this case is Jodiland itself, and Jodi and her supporters and any potential new supporters are the only ones getting hurt in this fight. They are getting stepped on, they are getting torn down and cast aside.
The biggest problem is that all this fighting really intensified right before the scheduled start of the penalty re-trial because both sites want to enjoy the extra interest that the trial will be sure to bring. The war in Jodiland is a war for site hits as much as anything else.
Jodi in the middle
Question: How can Jodi Arias continue to sanction and support her current Art site and Appellate Fund donation site while sanctioning and supporting a new Art site and Appellate fund donation site? Not very easily is the answer. So George Barwood, acting in support of Jason Weber and the justice4JodiArias.com website, sent a letter to Jodi explaining why SJ and his cohorts were not good for Jodi and why Jason and his cohorts were better for her. This is the leaked letter that Jodi sent back:
Jodi Arias chastises George Barwood, pleads for Unity
“Curious George –
Chill. Your “concerns” are not your concern. Art by Jodi Arias is not a publically (sic) traded company, it is a private business. Therefore, where the revenue goes is nobody’s business but my family’s. As for the concerns of other supporters, I consider that a natural reaction to the confusion, doubt and suspicion that you and Jason have take it upon yourselves to whip up around my art. You two are the only ones who’ve been harming sales, and my family and I do not appreciate it in the least. I do not need you to put out a statement. I need you to stop putting out statements. You’re not helping, you’re hurting.
The only reason I told you that Ben drives a new custom-ordered BMW and owns a home with no mortgage was to illustrate that he doesn’t need the comparative pennies generated from art sales. He achieved the above personal financial milestones well before he began assisting with my art. You cite a so-called “lengthy criminal record” and quote an unnamed PI’s meaningless opinion. I’ll bet he’s unnamed because he doesn’t want to become a laughing stock by warning of the dangers of a man whose record boosts some whimpy misdemeanors (Can we at least get a felony on this guy? Just one? No?…) The next time you consult a PI, George, rethink your source.
You would also have me disassociate from SJ, who has been supportive of my family and I for years, who has no criminal record, and who my family can assuredly avow has never stolen one dollar from them. This has been verified.
In the statement you mentioned you and SJ argued about your failure to disclose that your statement consisted of negative, unfounded rumors about SJ. George, be honest with yourself. If someone were about to slander you with a bunch of trumped up propaganda wouldn’t you desire to set the facts straight? These publications you cite refer to a man called Simon John Hill , not Dapinderpal Farquar Dunderlumpton. Simon John Hill is a highly
common name, especially in the UK and other English-speaking countries (I even know of a John Hill who lives in Vacaville, California.) I’d be willing to bet that there are many Simon John Hills in the UK and at least one in each of the 50 states in my country.
You said in our brief call that you want to create distance between Ben and I, and SJ and I (it was implied) because of their oh-so-shady histories. But then you would have me align myself with Jason, who has enormous talent. But this makes no sense, George, because by your own standards, Jason, who has numerous felony convictions would be the one I should be staying farthest away from (What’s that smell? Is that a double standard? Or an ulterior motive?)
Let’s break it down succinctly in a chart:
|Misdemeanors||Felonies||Been to Prison|
You suggested “electing” who should handle my art. Let me kindly reiterate that this is not a company on the stock exchange. When it comes to how my art is managed, the only votes that count are my family’s and mine—and the voters have spoken.
As I said to you the other day, if people are donating to the JAA Appellate Fund at justice4jodi.com, they have a right to know where their money is going and how it’s going to be used because they are investing a cause they believe in. Private businesses don’t answer to investors. You wouldn’t ask the owners of a small shop what they do with their money. If you did you would be considered a rude customer. Butt out. Seriously. The only ones harming art sales are you and Jason—people who’ve attacked my art. Only a hater does that. Rest assured that my family can log into the PayPal account they want and monitor every transaction from the first to the last. We know what we are doing. That’s all the confidence that needs to be established, because again a lack of confidence didn’t exist until you and Jason began your hate campaign.
So to be technical, you have moved to the dark side—that of hate. I’m a forgiving person, especially for you Geroge, because you’ve been truly supportive in the past. I am aware of your generous donation to the appellate fund and I remain very grateful for your contributions to my future. When you are ready to come back to the light, look me up. For now, I have a life-or-death trial to prepare for and I feel like I’m battling Juan with one hand, and you and Jason with the other. Together, you two have caused me more stress in the last month than anyone or anything else in the last year. This is a crucial time for me and I can no longer allow bickering trouble-making “supporters” to distrust me. Bury the hatchet with SJ. Don’t
carry a grudge over one spat. If you want to lead people then cultivate unity and stop causing dissension. I hope you and your family are well. We’ll talk again. —JA”
Jodi’s wishes go unheeded
So, this seems to make it pretty clear where Jodi and her family stand on the issue. Did this settle things? Oh no. George did not bury the hatchet. He stated that the art site and fund donation site were okay, but that SJ is no good. Now Jason’s cohort, Lucy, got involved in trying to explain what Justice4JodiArias was about, why they wanted to raise funds separately fron SJ involved sites, and what the concerns were about the art site. Jodi ended up calling “Lucy”, but there was someone else listening in (besides Sheriff Joe and the Maricopa County Jail). This person recorded the conversation and leaked it in a stunt eerily similar to Jodi recording the sex tape with Travis. Being in jail, Jodi must be the one to initiate phone calls, so this means Jodi Arias must have known that the conversation with “Lucy” was being recorded. So this is the Jodi Arias 3-way call controversy.
The Battle of the Phone Call
The leaked phone call was Lucy trying to convince Jodi how the board of directors for the website is set up, how the fundraising will work, and how decisions are made to release funds to Jodi’s appellate trust and family. She had sent her a letter explaining all this and now they were talking on the phone. Of course, for Jodi to inititate a 3-way call, Jodi must have been aware of this and Lucy was victimized. The rumor is that the 3rd person was Jodi’s mitigation specialist, Maria De La Rosa. Maria is a person who has had contact with a number of Jodi supporters as part of her mitigation work. Since Jodi was acting as her own attorney at that time, she was allowed to have unmonitored phone calls with people who were vital to her defense.
Here is the phone call:
Jodiland in flames
So, George wrote another letter and had another phone call with Jodi. The recording and leaking of this phone call aggravated Jason’s group, it made SJ’s group even more suspicious, and it put Jodi in a bad light as someone who would carry on a conversation with a person while knowing another person (besides the jail) was listening in and recording the conversation. So, it was a Lose/Lose/Lose for Jodi supporters and a Win/Win for prosecution supporters. Great going, guys.
Jodi and family (once again) back SJ
Since then, Jodi and her family have sided against Jason. Jason and Lucy are claiming that they did, in fact, have Jodi’s blessing for all the efforts they’ve made. Jason is reportedly upset about having volunteered his time and money in the project. He is still running an anti-SJ campaign. SJ is still running a full on assault against Jason and the Justice4JodiArias.com website. Jason has changed the goal of the fundraising from raising funds only for Jodi Arias to raising funds to support due process and for other defendants and wrongly convicted people. This was in response to arguments against claims made by Jason that contributions to Jodi’s defense would be tax-deductible.
The Battle of the appellate fundraising sites
George Barwood made an alternative site to the Justice4Jodi.com fundraising site https://www.facebook.com/JodiAnnAriasAppellateTrust. He made a basically free Facebook page that does everything SJ’s paid site does, but virtually for free. He’s waiting on Jodi’s approval on this idea, then he plans to turn the Facebook page over to Jodi’s Aunt Sue Allen Halterman. In this way, he plans to bypass Justice4Jodi.com and enhance Justice4JodiArias.com
The Battle of the Glasses
Some very nice supporters of Jodi got together to get her a new pair of glasses for the 2nd penalty phase trial. SJ and crew got Jodi’s old pair of glasses and attempted to auction them off on the art site at JodiArias.com. SJ and crew wanted to have anyone who made an offer make a deposit of $250.00 so that only serious buyers would get involved. Jason and crew cried foul, saying it was against paypal rules. The auction mysteriously was called off. George Barwood, who did not have control of the glasses, started an unofficial auction, as if he wished he was involved in the auctioning of the glasses. The auction went underground, and there was a winner at the price of $1,000, which was given away to a charity.
George Barwood decries SJ
George Barwood came out and said that he has nothing against the Art site or the fund raising site, but that Simon Johansson has a bad reputation and should not be involved in these websites. He is not the right person to be out front supporting Jodi. George Barwood cited the use of the “Body Bag photo” on JAII.com during the trial. The photo showed Travis Alexander in a blue body bag on the floor of his bathroom with the captions “Justice for Travis is in the bag” and “Justice for Travis Has been served”. This would be appropriate had Jodi been forced to defend herself from a deadly attack, but it was seen as very offensive by prosecution supporters and most Jodi supporters. George Barwood also cited the use by SJ on his site of the term ‘Pedo-Huggers’ for prosecution supporters.
Then George Barwood said that SJ is not a crook, but that he works with and for crooks, then most recently, he tweeted that SJ is a “psychopath”.
King Kong and Godzilla trash Tokyo
So you have Jodi Land full of present and possible future supporters of Jodi Arias, which I will liken to Tokyo. Some are good friends of SJ, some are good friends of Jason Weber and George Barwood, some are friends of both, and while some are friends of neither.
Jodiland torn apart
You have Jason Weber, trying to climb the highest building in JodiLand, acting like King Kong. He’s hoping a lot of people in Jodiland will notice him and join him. Then there’s SJ, tromping through Jodiland breathing fire, both are knocking things over and causing general havoc, “Jodites” are running and trying to get out of the way. King Kong Jason heads out to fight SJ Godzilla, and busses, buildings and cars full of Jodites are getting trampled. It’s all out war in Jodiland, as prosecution supporters watch from boats and planes in fascination. The only real victim is Jodi Arias and her supporters in the now dilapidated and ruined Jodiland.
Mix and Match: Rate your favorite Mega-Supporter
JASON WEBER Detroit, Michigan USA
You know who he is and where he lives
Not a criminal, he had a number of DUI’s and did some prison time
Web site developer
Graduate of Cornell University (Ivy League)
Interested in due process, defendant’s rights, etc.
Is an American
Supports Jodi Arias
Has spent his own time and money supporting Jodi
Wrote some sensationalized articles
Researched and reported on the criminal records of Alexander siblings
Bought Facebook “likes” for his OccupyHLN site.
Thinks SJ has a bad reputation, will try to steal from supporters
SIMON JOHANNSON (SJ) Switzerland? Or UK?
Supposed to be from the UK, may live in Switzerland
May or may not have outstanding warrants in the UK
You don’t really know who he is, where he lives
Involved in some financial investment pyramid scams
Never convicted or jailed
Supports Jodi Arias
Has spent his own time and money supporting Jodi
Wrote some sensationalized articles
Thinks Jason is a fraud, out to steal from Jodi Supporters
The battle of the Facebook trash pages
New Facebook pages have appeared, each denigrating either SJ or Jason, however, it’s unclear if these were put together by enemies within Jodiland, or by some prosecution supporters to further incite revolt.
This one is still up.
This one has been taken down.
Second Battle of the JodiBands
Now it seems the guy we will call “Fred” has fully sided with SJ and is very much against Jason Weber and George Barwood. George Barwood has also come out against some of the things that Jason has done and said. “Fred” is out of the Jodiband biz, but Jodibands are selling on SJ and Ben’s art site. Jason’s site is now selling Jodi keychains called Jodichains, but it’d not clear what the money will be used for?
Now, do you understand the Jodiland wars?
As the 2nd penalty phase looms large, the battle lines in Jodiland are still being drawn. We can only wait and see if Jason’s web site will take off and if SJ’s site will be as energized as it was during the original trial. No one has heeded Jodi Arias’ pleas to mend fences and strive for unity.
Now, as the Jodites wallow forth from the ruins of Jodiland where King Kong Jason and Godzilla SJ just plowed through, aren’t you glad I explained all this to you? Does this shed any light at all on all the nutty tweets and crazy back and forth you’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter? I hope it has. It took me a while to figure it out, myself.
Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Please comment.
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